Life sciences

There are multiple routes into the life science industry – even without a degree. You could work in research and development, drug manufacturing, quality control or as a marketing manager. There's a demand for staff at every level and you could make a real difference making discoveries and affecting change.

The impact you could make

  • Discover new drugs or technologies that improve global health care. 
  • Help Scotland achieve its net zero ambitions by developing alternative energy sources or fossil fuels. 
  • Ensure the sustainability of global food sources and animal health. 

The opportunities within life sciences

In the fight against COVID-19, the industry has had a high public profile and a great need for a skilled workforce. It has contributed to the delivery of the biggest vaccination programme in the world – but it's not just about COVID-19. Life sciences is central to Scotland's fight against the climate emergency, precision medicine and using medical technology like Artificial Intelligence to improve our health service.

sketch of 3 people


There are 24,600 people working in the life and chemical sciences industry.*


Job availability

By 2030, there will be roughly 133,000 ​​​​​​​jobs across the UK in life sciences.**


Job diversity

There are 74 Modern Apprentices in Scotland training in life sciences and related sciences.*

*Skills Sector Assessment 2022


I want to look back and know that I've made a difference- to myself and my skillset but also the patients that I see.


Trainee Clinical Scientist, WestMARC, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital

Explore life sciences jobs

We've pulled together some popular life science jobs for you to explore. 

Some things you may not know about life sciences

A pair of hands underneath the earth

The skills and talent of Scotland's life science industry is recognised globally. 

A light bulb with leaves underneath

There are more than 750 life science companies operating in Scotland. 

test tubes

You do not need to work in a laboratory to work in the life sciences industry. 

What subjects to take

We've pulled together some examples of subjects that could be useful for getting into a life science career.

  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Maths
  • English
  • Physics
  • Computing

For most jobs, you might not need specific subjects. If your school does not provide all of these subjects or you're just unsure — do not worry. There are many more subjects you can explore by using the Option Choices tool or speaking to a careers adviser in your school. 

What routes you can take

There are different options you can choose from after school. We've pulled together some of them to help you decide which is best for you.